what does “Green Travel” even mean? How do you do it? Do you have to sleep in a tent and cook on a solar-powered camp stove in order to be considered eco-friendly? You may not think twice when you go to refill your reusable water bottle or bring your canvas bag with you when you go grocery shopping. You have been told, and it has become ingrained in your mind, that with these simple actions you can help protect the environment.
Just like recycling your old math homework has become a habit, there are plenty of steps you can take as a tourist to ensure that you are always traveling green. You can help promote sustainable tourism by thinking about the environmental, economical, and cultural effects that your actions as a tourist may have while you travel. But how?
- Non-stop and day flights: Short-haul flights require at least one more takeoff and landing. The impacts of night flying on the Earth have been well documented. The temperature of the atmosphere increases when planes fly at night, because heat is trapped. Therefore, non-stop flights and day flights are the best eco-friendly ways to reach your destination. So, always try to look for such flights which do not have added stops and day flights are preferable. You may be the first contribution in reducing night travel passengers but you will not be the last. So, make sure to be the one.
- Create your own clean up…wherever you go: Whenever you go to the beach (or any other natural place), pick up some of the trash. You can do this where you live or when you’re traveling. In the Mediterranean, we have the highest proportion of micro-plastics in the sea inn the world, but every little bit helps. Beach cleaning can also be a good way to make friends while you’re traveling. Search for clean ups around you and not only will you be helping the environment but you can meet locals.
- Don’t forgot your reusable/low-waste items: Remembering to pack your reusable bags, reusable water bottles, reusable toiletries, and other items are great ways to travel green. By packing reusable things to travel with, you are being less wasteful, limiting the amount of trash, and being resourceful! Some cities around the world have public water fountains that offer clean drinking water to the public that you can fill your reusable water bottle with. Much better than wasting a bunch of plastic water bottles every day, right? There are also eco friendly toiletry options you can pack in your bags, such as reusable shampoo bars and bamboo toothbrushes, to name a few.
- Unplugging electronics: Unplugging electronics and turning off anything that uses electricity conserves more energy. Consider using energy-saving electricity options too, or stay in accommodations that offer greener electricity options. Being conscious of your electricity use is one step closer to being a green traveler.
- Reduce your shower time: Water must be treated and transported to be of an acceptable level. This requires energy, which contributes to greenhouse gases. Showering for 5 minutes instead of 10 minutes is much better for the planet. Also, do not leave running water even for a second. Make sure to be kind to these important resources of the destination. Taking care of these will make you a green traveler.
- Visit local markets: One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to visit markets because this is often the heart of local life. You get to hear the local language, see people greeting old friends and buying food for the day. I love the hustle and bustle of it all and it’s also a great way to make your trip more sustainable.Most markets offer local dishes and local goods that don’t have to be transported to reach customers, so it helps reduce your carbon footprint. Moreover, by shopping at markets you support the local economy, including farmers and artisans.
- Electric vehicles are preferable: Several tourist attractions feature electric taxis and buses. They are preferred over gasoline-powered cars and taxis because they are sustainable modes of travel. So, definitely go for them. Also, use bicycles to wander locally. It is fun riding plus saves the environment plus good for health. Public transport helps you get to know local people. You can communicate and ask them for good places around, to eat and travel to. That will be a good exercise to make amazing memories and lighten your mood.
- Stay at Green Hotel: Las Vegas is actually at the forefront of green building, and the Palazzo Hotel Vegas is one of the largest hotels in the U.S. to receive LEED certification (along with the huge Aria and Vdara City Center hotels). Ninety-five percent of the building’s structural steel and 26 percent of its concrete is recycled material. The swimming pools are heated by solar power, and the hotel claims to save enough energy annually to light a 100-watt light bulb for 12,100 years.